tv PBS News Hour PBS February 2, 2011 5:30pm-6:30pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. bloody battles erupted between pro and anti government factions in the streets of cairo today. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the confrontations in the egyptian capital and look at who's behind the clashes. >> brown: then, kwame holman updates the massive storm paralyzing cities from the midwest to the northeast. >> suarez: we examine what's next for states and consumers after four differing court rulings on the new health care law. >> brown: and we talk with charles sennott of "global post" about his interview with general david petraeus on the afghan war effort. >> clearly a lot of this hinges on the ability of afghan forces to do more as we do
progressively less, we're not justoing to say, "tag you're it, we're out of here." >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities. >> every year, chevron spends billions with small businesses. that goes right to the heart of local communities, providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on them. >> and we depend on them.
>> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: central cairo dissolved into open street warfare today. supporters of president hosni mubarak fought protesters with bricks, firebombs and machetes. the violence lasted through the day and into the night. officials reported three people killed and more than 600 injured, but a doctor on the
scene said more than 1,500 people were hurt. we begin our coverage with a report from jonathan rugman of "independent television news." i downtown cairo has been battered by violence. warring factions fighting for control of tahrir square. hundreds have been injured, hundreds more have been trapped by the fighting. many of those demanding the overthrow of hosni mubarak saying that plain clothed thugs were sent here to sew the seeds of bloodshed. >> ( translated ): hosni mubarak is behind it. mubarak should leave. mubarak should leave. >> reporter: this was the scene in a nearby mosque. only last week it was treating
protestors shot by riot police. and eyewitnesses say a spear and baseball bats were among the weapons carried today by mubarak supporters laying siege to the square. the trouble began when dozens of men on horses and camels cantered into anti-government demonstrators. the army did not stop them and the men were pulled from their mounts and attacked. earlier we watched mubarak supporters marching in their thousands towards tahrir square. the army let them through, and it was choreographed by the regime nobody was saying. "we hate elbaradei" they told us referring to the egyptian leader. >> no no elbaradei!
we love mubarak. we mubarak! >> he's a liar! he's a liar! >> reporter: they demanded the protestors occupying the square leave it. in the square itself the anti-mubarak crowd-- still hanging an even ji of the president from a lamp post-- "we won't go till he goes" they chanted, determined to hold their ground. and ringing the square, small bands of young men, the front line against any attempt to recapture it, convind that plain clothed police from the interior ministry were on their way. approaching another corner of the square, we found a coalition of opposition leaders. "leave, leave" they shouted. one of them telling me he feared mubarak thugs would kill him and that this uprising was at a critical stage. : >> it is time to rebuild egypt. it is a revolution, it is not a demonstration, it is not a march
this is a revolution. you know it is! >> reporter: "enough is enough" an onlooker shouted. "we cannot live because we haven't been paid." anger between the two sides beginning to escalate. these opposition leaders will r marching towards freedom square to join the occupation. but just behind them are supporters of hosni mubarak and there have been scuffles between the two sides-- just the kind of chaos that people worry about in egypt's future. at the entrance to the square itself, a pro-mubarak crowd. "with our souls we will defend you" they shouted. denouncing anyone who dared enter. >> suarez: late tonight state television in cairo warned protestors to leave central square. we talked a short time wag matt bradley from the "wall street journal" from his hotel room overlooking tahrir square. matt, earlier today the protestors were told to be out of tahrir square by midnight cairo time. has that happened?
is the square clear? >> no, actually, i just took a stroll through tahrir square and there's several thousand people still seated there, still camping out there, still gathering rocks to throw at protestors that are pro-government protestors that they expect to arrive any minute. so it seems that the... any illusion it is government had or the military had of enforcing a curfew are unrealistic. the people are there to stay. >> suarez: so just to be clear, there's been no evidence that you've seen of any move by police or army to remove those protestors from this central plaza? >> no move by the police or the army, but i've heard rumors that there are people mobilizing... pro-mubarak forces mobilizing at the northern part of the square, a little bit past the museum to try to come in and take the square again. but it looks like for now the anti-government protestors, the anti-mubarak protestors, have held the day. >> suarez: so much attention is
being paid to tahrir square. what about the rest of cairo? if you range three, five, ten blocks away, what's going on in the rest of the city? >> well, the rest of the city has now... i mean, the police have now essentially voided the city to there isn't much of a police presence anywhere, though the police have returned somewhat, though not nearly to the levels they were at before. so really during the violence last friday, the most of it was centered in tahrir, the surrounding blocks around it and some isolated parts throughout the city. but now what we're seeing is a lack of law enforcement throughout the city and i was driving through cairo late last night, i was in the sinai peninsula coming back, and there were groups of youth throughout the city who had roadblocks just about every three blocks. so if you were to drive throughout downtown cairo, you'd be stopped just about every minute and a half. and someone would ask you to pop your trunk, they sked to see
your identification and these are just kids carrying hand made weapons, pieces of rebar, bats marx machetes, that sort of thing, who have set up roadblocks. so really at night especially city is quite different. it's very much on lockdown but a citizen army has taken over. a citizens law enforcement. >> suarez: in your most recent move among the protestors, what do they say their intentions are? are they going to stay? >> well, i didn't really a lot of chatting with the protestors, i just went to the hospital and went back but it sounds like, yes, from what i understand speaking with them earlier today that they're planning on sticking around. the protestors, at least the ones who are so hard core they're going to be sleeping in the cold tonight in tahrir square, they are resolved to remain in their positions until president mubarak literally
leaves office and they're not having any of this wait until september or wait until the fall when president mubarak claim he is won't be running again for president in the presidential elections. >> suarez: matt bradley of the wushl, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> brown: the violence in cairo drew new warnings from around the world today. u.n. secretary general ban ki- moon called the situation unacceptable. and british prime minister david cameron said egypt's government must begin rapid and credible political change. in washington, white house press secretary robert gibbs said the mubarak government must rein in supporters. >> the president of this administration strongly condemned the outrageous and deplorable violence that's taking place on the streets of cairo, that's taking place on the streets of cairo today. we have said that throughout this process. obviously if any of the violence is instigated by the government it should stop immediately
>> suarez: today's troubles extended beyond cairo, but on a much smaller scale. lindsey hilsum, of "independent television news," reports from egypt's second largest city. >> reporter: we haven't had the same level of violence here in alexandria as in cairo, but it is extremely tense. last night after president mubarak announced on television that he wouldn't be standing down until september, some of the anti-government demonstrators got angry. there was stone throwing and there were some clashes in the night. then the protestors dispersed, but then small groups reassembled today, some of them near the mosque which is just about where i am n. and these different groups of protestors-- some of them for the government, some of them against the government-- were moving around town and there were some scuffles. but on the streets of alexandria tonight where i am, the crowds seem to have dispersed. i'm told that they have gone elsewhere. it's calm but it is extremely
tense. >> brown: and the ripple effects from the protests in egypt and tunisia continued across the middle east today. the president of yemen ali abdullah sa'leh pledged not to run for a new term in 2013. but position figures said he broke a similar promise in 2006. we get more now on all of today's developments, from na'der ha'shemi, an assistant professor of middle east politics at the josef korbel school of international studies at the university of denver. leslie campbell, regional director for the middle east and north africa at the national democratic institute. and chantal thomas, former head of the law department at the american university in cairo. she's a professor at cornell law school and a visiting scholar at the institute for advanced study in princeton. na'der ha'shemi, i'll start with you. how serious are today's clashes in cairo? how volatile is the situation now? >> it's very volatile and very serious.
what we're seeing is an attempt by the mubarak mubarak regime to rear-guard action and retain control of a society that it has lost control over. so i think this is not... does not bode well for the future of egypt and it suggests that the mubarak regime is willing to sink to very deep depths of depravity to prevent a democratic transition from happening. >> brown: chantal thomas, what's your sense of how organized the pro-mubarak forces are at this point? >> well, i think the sense is very much that the pro-mubarak forces, sense of average folks in cairo, is that they're very much organized and, in fact, they are essentially plain clothed policemen who have been armed by mubarak and by the police with tear gas, with
horses, with camels, with resources to try to crack down on anti-mubarak protests. >> brown: leslie campbell, how much wider support does president mubarak have at this point? he's been in power a long time, right? so there's a whole sort of regime there that is used to him. >> right. it's not terribly surprising that a ruling party that controlled and does control still every aspect of egyptian society, every institution, the police force, some of the labor unions, the business, it's not too surprising that that ruling party didn't give up quite so easily. i think that some of the protestors maybe saw ben ali of tunisia leave after only a few weeks of protests and perhaps they were naive in thinking that the ruling apparatus of egypt would give up so quickly. but i agree. these are serious but i think the protestors are probably not going to be put off this easily. but what i'm afraid is we'll see many days of high tension and unfortunately probably some violence. >> brown: staying with you for a moment. is it possible to tell about the
wider society? a kind of silent majority out there where they would come pro or anti-mubarak? >> i don't think there's any scientific way of knowing. many egyptian it is educational level is not that high. there's a lot of illiteracy, there's a lot of poverty. more than one report, many reports today of the thugs that were sent in to break up these demonstrations is a number of them were clearly from a lower socioeconomic class. it's possible they were, for example, paid a small sum of money. but what we have been hearing is people are tired of disruption, food supplies are low. in fact, the government of egypt subsidizes staples, flour, bred, cooking oil, those sorts of things about they can control the flow of those staple foods and people do want to go back to normal life. >> brown: that would suggest, na'der ha'shemi, that there would be perhaps a strategy to put pressure on demonstrators to allow things to get back to normal. do you they think that is a plan
from the government? >> absolutely. i think it's a deliberate strategy to divide and conquer, in a sense, to send a message that, look, if these protests continue if you go into the street that you won't be able to feed your families. this is part of a broader strategy of trying to encourage people not to leave their homes, to join the pro-democracy protests and it's part and parcel of what i mentioned before. it's part of a desperate attempt of a regime in its final phases to reassert control. i see this as very orchestrated and deliberate. >> brown: staying with you for a moment, do you see president mubarak counting on reaching this larger majority of people out there not the ones in tahrir square. can he count on any support from people like that? >> no. i don't think that's what he's... i don't think that's what he's attempting to do.
i think he's attempting to intimidate society to send a clear message look, if you come into the street, you will get a molotov cocktail thrown at you. you could get beaten up. it's to really send a message that law and order is slipping away and it is in your own personal interest to remain at home and not join the protests. so i don't think it's trying to ideologically win supporters, i think those days are long past after 30 years of dictatorship. it's really to instill fear and by instilling fear to hope... the hope is to regain control. >> brown: so chantal tamm mos, is it kind of a stalemate? what breaks it? what are the calculations by both sides here? >> well, you know, i have to disagree a bit with some of my colleagues here. i do think in talking to friends and colleagues there in cairo that i think the majority do want a peaceful transition. they are frustrated with the
status quo. they would like to see change. but i do agree as well that the strategy here to to try to wear down popular support for a chachk in power domestically and also, frankly, to try to convince the international community to continue to support mubarak in order to maintain stability not only in egypt but in the region. >> brown: of course we did hear the international community with a pretty sharp rebuke of president mubarak today. do you think that has any impact? >> we would hope. and we would hope that as well what leaders in the international community and our own government are saying to news cameras and explicitly also attracts with what they may be saying behind closed doors, certainly not casting aspersions here but it's very true that mubarak has been a key ally in the region and he knows that a big part of his authority
domestically and internationally has been promising a stability. so i do think that although there is vocal criticism of what mubarak has been up to in the past few days that we still have some ways to go before we see a really decisive change in terms of pressure on the international community. >> brown: leslie campbell, what do you make of the army's stance today apparently allowing the pro-mubarak forces in on horse, on camel, in large numbers standing by but not taking action for one side or the other. >> it's disturbing because one of the positive narratives of the last few days of protests, the narrative was that the army was professional, it was neutral perhaps some of the protestors thought even perhaps the army was on their side. and there was a sense, i think, yesterday of sort of euphoria after the large protests of yesterday that the army was sort of standing by in a sense to safeguard a transition. what we saw today and i think
it's ironic maybe is not a strong enough word, it was tragic. but after president mubarak promised a transition, the first step appeared to be to unleash the thugs on the protestors and the army in their first real test stood by and allowed this violence to occur. so i think what the protestors are going home tonight thinking is wow, if that's the first day of transition to something new, that's terrible and i would amplify this idea of the international community. i think they have to make it loud... make their views known loud and clear that transition to something new doesn't start with unleashing violence. >> brown: na'der ha'shemi, what do you think about the army's role today and going forward? they're stale major player in whatever kind of transition takes place, right? >> right. they are. yesterday, it's important to point out, the army did issue a statement on television, egyptian television, that it wants the protests to end, that they've gone on for too long and there's an indication it may
start to take a more determined position in terms of how these protests are playing out. events today i think raise a lot of questions. there's been an analysis that the army is on the side of the people. i think the best case that can be made about where the army stands right now, that it is at least... the people on the streets, these soldiers on the streets are neutral and it's pretty clear from my reading of it that the senior officer corps, the upper echelons, are still very loyal to mubarak. so i don't see the army playing a positive role here in terms of promoting a democratic transition. at least not in the near future. brown boup briefly, chantal thomas, we talked about the various opposition groups. in light of what's happened today, do you have any sense of how much they're able to coalesce to have a kind of single agenda or single response to the government? >> well what we're seeing is so unprecedented it's really hard to say. this revolution that looks like it will be or may well turn out to be... really started out
completely unorganized. really it's a 21st century through new technology, facebook twitter, and all the rest of it, with no clear leaders. i think now what we're seeing an s an attempt to find some kind of an organization through political opposition leaders who have been on the scene for a while. but whether they'll be able to come together and forgo their internal divisions in order to add to the pressure for mubarak to step down i think it's too early to call. >> brown: chantal thomas, leslie campbell and na'der ha'shemi, thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> suarez: still to come on the "newshour": what's next for the health care overhaul and general david petraeus in afghanistan. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the great winter storm of 2011 began blasting its way into the northeast today leaving the midwest frozen and buried under the worst snow and ice in many years. "newshour" correspondent kwame holman has our report.
>> reporter: much of the nation's heartland was paralyzed, as the enormous storm plowed a 2,000-mile path. the misery may have been worst in chicago, with nearly two feet of snow overnight. winds gusting up to 50 miles an hour and 13-foot waves on lake michigan. hundreds of people were stranded all night on the city's famed lake shore drive, after multiple accidents. >> everything's frozen. nothing's moving. i mean, it's just insane. >> reporter: even fire trucks and ambulances were stopped in their tracks and the fire department resorted to using snowmobiles for the first time ever to check on people trapped in cars. >> it seems super important when it's like this, because sometimes you can't get to people, you know, like if it's a narrow street or they're a distance down a narrow street, the rigs will never be able to get there. >> reporter: in all, at least 1,500 cars were stuck as the fierce, swirling winds sent snow into giant drifts and closed city schools for the
first time in 12 years. roads began to crawl to life around midday, but chicago officials still urged caution >> be patient, city crews are working hard to keep up with the storm, and clear the snow as fast as possible. if you absolutely must drive, slow down and yield right of way to emergency vehicles. >> reporter: the storm also grounded all flights at o'hare airport-- a major hub-- and nothing was scheduled to land or depart until thursda nationwide, flight cancellations topped 5,500 for a second day. and both the numbers and the chaos in airline schedules were expected to rise, as the huge storm reached the east coast-- the nation's busiest airspace. meanwhile, near white-out conditions triggered a 15-car pileup tuesday in missouri, and shut down interstate 70 between st. louis and kansas city for the first time in the state's history. adding to the winter woes, hundreds of thousands of people lost power. utility crews worked overtime in indiana a several other
states. rolling blackouts were in force across texas, but officials said cowboys stadium, outside dallas, would not be affected. the super bowl will be played there on sunday. in the northeast, the storm brought rain and ice to philadelphia this morning. and in new york city, freezing rain and sleet coated sidewalks and streets with nearly an inch of ice. amtrak's northeast corridor service between new york and philadelphia was temporarily suspended. and western massachusetts braced for even more snow after gettin close to a foot on tuesday. but there was at least one sign of potential relief for the winter weary. in pennsylvania, punxatawny phil's handlers reported he did not see his shadow on this groundhog day-- the traditional sign of an early spring. >> sreenivasan: half a world away, a giant storm, comparable to hurricane katrina, blasted northeastern australia today. cyclone yasi barreled ashore in the small resort town of mission beach in queensland state.
the storm had winds gusting up to 186 miles an hour and forecasters predicted up to 28 inches of rain. we have a report narrated by james mates of "independent television news." >> reporter: australians like to call themselves the lucky country. in the western state of queensland, they are not feeling lucky tonight. the waters from the worst floods in a generation have barely drained away and now this-- the worst storm in the country's history. a category five cyclone, the strongest there is, making landfall right now across a front 400 miles wide. for days, people have been urged to leave, anyone still there is now officially on their own. >> these are not conditions in which we can just send emergency workers. these are not conditions where you can put up a helicopter to do a wind rescue. all of that is now beyond the realms of possibility. >> reporter: tens of thousands of people have only been able to evacuate as far as emergency
shelters. one british backpacker told us where there is still power, people have been talking to us via skype as they wait for the worst. >> we decided to stick it out. we've got a strong room in our hous we're just hoping for the best but having not been through those kinds of winds before you can never predict what's going to happen, you know? what it can take out. >> reporter: communication is extremely difficult while the storm rages, it will be sometime before we know how destructive, how deadly, cyclone yasi has been. >> sreenivasan: tropical rains last november submerged parts of queensland state for months, and killed at least 35 people. in pakistan, a car bombing killed nine people and wounded 20 others. the bomb exploded at a busy market on the outskirts of peshawar, in the northwest. it's located on a main road leading to the afghan border. this was the third major bombing in and around the city in the last week. president obama signed documents to implement the "new start" treaty today. the nuclear arms agreement with
russia will limits each country's number of strategic warheads. it also allows the two sides to resume inspecting each others' nuclear arsenals. the treaty will be finalized this weekend when secretary of state clinton and the russian foreign minister exchange ratification documents. the environmental protection agency has announced plans to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. the toxic chemical is found in rocket fuel, fireworks and explosives. it's been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women and young children. e.p.a. administrator lisa jackson laid out the agency's plans at a senate hearing today. >> it's about protecting the health of the between five million and 17 million americans that have perchlorate in the water that they drink. as we look at our regulations for perchlorate, we will look at the feasibility and affordability of treatment systems, the costs and the benefits of potential standards, and of course, we'lmake sure our approach continues to be based on sound, up-to-date science. >> sreenivasan: trace amounts of
perchlorate have appeared in more than 150 drinking water sources across 26 states. it may take two years to develop the new standard on how much is safe for human consumption. wall street mostly marked time today, after tuesday's big gains. the dow jones industrial average added one point to close near 12,042. the nasdaq fell a point to close at 2,750. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to ray. >> suarez: next, new questions abouthe fate of health care reform. the law is facing new challenges this week legally and politically. senate republicans tried today to repeal the law but came up short of the 60 votes required. still, opponents of the law say the events of recent days have given them new momentum. senate republicans were bolstered in their repeal effort by a federal judge's ruling in florida this week. he ruled the health care overhaul enacted last year unconstitutional. minority leader mitch mcconnell said today's senate vote would
allow lawmakers who voted for the measure the first time, to fix their mistake. >> it's not every day that you can get a second chance on a big decision after you know all the facts. this is that second chance. and for all of us who opposed the health bill. today, we reaffirm our commitment to work a little harder to get it right. we can't afford to get it wrong. >> suarez: mcconnell offered the repeal measure as an amendment to an aviation bill. majority leader harry reid said the repeal attempt showed the two parti simply have different priorities. >> democrats are fighting to modernize our nation's air travel. republicans are fighting to repeal the health reform law, ignoring the 80% of americans who want them to leave it alone. in other words, democrats want to give passengers the rights they deserve. republicans want to take away patient's rights they already have. >> suarez: senators also debated whether or not the law was constitutional.
some republicans said it was not, citing monday's ruling by u.s. district judge roger vinson. he found congress overstepped its authority by mandating that people purchase insurance by 2014 or pay a fine. south carolina's jim demint: >> we must repeal the bill in its entirety, because at the very heart, which makes all the other parts work, that very heart-- that individual mandate- - violates the highest law of our land. >> suarez: vinson was the second federal judge to rule that a mandate was unconstitutional, but went further and concluded the entire law was invalid. in his 78-page opinion, vinson wrote, "the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit." two other federal judges have upheld the mandate and the
broader law. the question of constitutionality also took center stage at a senate judiciary hearing today. part of the discussion focused on the constitution's commerce clause which gives congress the power to regulate commerce among the several states. the law's supporters say that gives lawmakers the authority to create a mandate. but georgetown university law professor randy barnett said while the constitution does grant certain powers, congress cannot decide whether people should buy insurance. >> the supreme court has time and time again referred to the congress' power and authorized congress to exercise its power to regulate activity, economic activity. that's what it says. and what we notice is that the court has never said that congress has the power to regulate economic matters, economic decisions, nor economic inactivity. >> suarez: harvard law school
professor charles fried, solicitor general during the reagan administration, disagreed. >> health care insurance surely is commerce, insuring as it does something like 18% of the gross national product. now, if that's so, if health care insurance is commerce, then does congress have the right to regulate health care insurance? of course, it does. >> suarez: later, fried had this exchange with iowa republican chuck grassley. >> would you see any need for congress to make any changes to the mandate in order to increase the chances that it would be found constitutional-- to make more certain it's constitutional? >> i see no need for it, because it seems so clearly constitutional. you're wearing a belt, maybe you want to put on se suspenders as well, i don't know. i think it's not necessary.
>> suarez: florida's newly elected governor republican rick scott said he believes his state and 25 others that joined the lawsuit are no longer bound to implement the law. the obama administration is appealing the florida decision and it argues states should continue to implement the law while the legal battles play out. we look at the prospects for what happens next with two experts from the world of health policy. neera tanden is chief executive officer of the center for american progress and served senior advisor on health reform at health and human services in the first year of the obama administration. and thomas miller is a resident fellow at the american enterprise institute, who served as the senior health economist for the joint economic committee from 2003 to 2006. and thomas miller, here we have four courts ruling 2-2. full-court press in the congress to get this thing repealed.
what's the state of a law that hasn't even been fully implemented yet? >> well, we've got a law that was passed in a different world. since then we've seen the popular majority in favor of it has disappeared. the congressional majority that passed it has disappeared in the november elections. and now what was presumed to be a legal view that this was totally constitutional at best is tenuous based upon very two strong rulings by district court judges. one of the other district courts is in the same circuit so they're going to go up on appeal at the same time and i would think the court of appeals is going to uphold the opinion by judge hudson rather than the other one. so they're on their heels, knocked off balance, uncertain. the aggressiveness of implementing and enforcing this law is going to pause. there will be some bluster, talking past the graveyard, whistling saying "go on, move along, nothing's happened here, no accident scene, move along, citizens, nothing's changed." and then fake that for a while but you've also got half the
states saying we don't like this we don't want it and we have now rights to say maybe we don't need to go along the way you're trying to force us. so the brass knuckles are coming off. >> suarez: neera tanden, knocked off their heels, off balance? >> i think implementation is going forward, will continue to go forward. i would disagree there's strong majorities against this law. there's a poll out today saying the vast majority of americans either want to continue the law or expand upon it. so i think the issue really is for the administration where the legal case is. and the legal case will continue but as the judge did not actually stop implementation and implementation will continue and states have a decision to make which is if they choose not to implement this decision, choose not to implement health reform there is a federal fallback. the federal government will come in and start implementing the exchangesss, etc. so it makes sense for governors to take the decision making themselves. but if they don't, their
citizens won't suffer for their political decisions. >> suarez: but even as the legal portion of this battle trundles along, are portions of the law more vulnerable than others as implementation perhaps sws in anticipation of waiting to see where this all comes snout >> well, i don't think implementation at the federal level will slow at all. treasury's continuing, justice is continuing, everyone is continuing with the work of implementation. you know numerous senior centers and thousands of seniors have received checks from the law. people are already been fiting from insurance reforms lifetime limits, preexisting conditions for children, all of those are continue and it should continue. it's unfortunate because of this decision that there is... that consumers and oers may become... and you know what from what people are saying about the decision consumers may become worried about losing those benefits, that they should rest assured those benefits will continue and expand as the law expands. >> suarez: we'll get to those
consumers in a minute. are portions of the law more vulnerable because of this twin battle? >> well, the individual mandate is on life support. it has political trouble beyond legal trouble. it's questionable as to how it will be enforced years from now. that's why there was a long time trigger date before it was put forward. all theseurported benefits, find them, there's been little benefit that's delivered under this law. everything is back-loaded. there's not much money flowing until 2013, 2014, all the medicaid expansions don't happen, the states are forced to spend money but the feds aren't actually giving them any more money except for rare cases. there's no new subsidys in exchanges because there aren't exchanges for three more years, this is somewhat of a poe poe team kin village. all of these great things you can count them on the fingers of a hand. the high risk pools, they've only gotten 8,000 people to sign up for it. this is a pretend game to find hostages to tie to the railroad tracks to say "stop, if you do
this this person will be run over." when we're talking about the rest of the health care system which is being less sustainable it's very irresponsible legislation. >> suarez: is he right we haven't seen the benefits of this law? >> there are numerous benefits. i can't speak to his own experience, but for the cancer patient in new york, around the country, cancer patients who are no longer facing lifetime limits, who are no longer worried about running out of money in their insurance plan when they face cancer and deadly diseases there's a real benefit. for all those millions of americans who rest easier because their children who are under 26 or who are teenagers, young adults, are able to stay on their health insurance, there's benefits. all these children using health care because of pre-existing conditions there are real benefits and for all those seniors who have already received checks in the mail because of funding in this legislation for prescription drugs there are real benefits. so those are just a series of
benefits that millions of americans have already received and will continue to receive and i think that's one of the reasons why public support for this legislation is expand ising and opponents of the legislation want to say no one has received benefits but saying it doesn't make it true. >> suarez: well, we're not going to redebate the health care reform law right now, but states have some calls to make. this process moves along there are, as you mentioned, the 26 states but there are another two does than are moving ahead with implementation. what are governors going to do now? >> depends who the governor is. some governors will hedge their bets. they may not like the law but they deal provisional planing in case the court challenge turns out differently. there will be other governors much more aggressively saying we're not bound by in this law anymore, we were parties to the lawsuit, this is the law of the land. this is an administration which says they believe in the rule of law and right now they're saying we don't care what a district court judge says, we have other ideas in this regard. they haven't changed the legal status of those 26 states in
this case who according to the latest legal ruling until it changes or there's a stay event ruling, this is against the law to force us to do something. in most case what is applies to the state is whether they do... they can't make changes to their medicaid program. these are states on the brink of bankruptcy, about to have other fiscal holds explode and they're being told you can't change anything about your eligibility levels when maybe you'll get some money three years from now for this other expansion to newly eligible people. that's what's troubling governors who can't pay for education, can't pay for the rest of their governments and they're wondering why they're being held up for this particular medicaid expansion. >> the judge had the power to decide to issue an injunction, he chose not to. for the entire country to stop getting... receiving the benefits of this legislation because one judge has decided that he has a particular ruling doesn't make sense for the millions of americans already receiving the benefits. it doesn't make sense when he could have issued an injunction and he chose not to. the right course, the course
they should breaux perot seed on is to continue implementation until this is decided by a higher court and by the supreme court where it will ultimately.... >> suarez: but aren't some of those state governors who signed on with florida going to take the chance and not continue implementation waiting to see what happens? >> the biggest piece of business for governors is to set up the exchange in 2014 there is a provision in the law that says if the state chooses not to do an exchange there will be a federal fallback. that means the federal government will create an exchange in their state with the very simple principle that people in states should not be held hostage to the political decision making of their governors when everyone else in their country is receiving a benefit. for those governors decided to play politics with the ruling, they are actually just seeding decision making to the federal government which probably makes less sense for those interested in states rights. >> suarez: i know you both and we will stay tuned. neera tanden and thomas miller, thank you both.
>> thank you. >> brown: finally tonight: an update from afghanistan. this morning, charles sennott of the international website "global-post" sat down for an extended interview with general david petreus, the commander of u.s. and allied forces in afghanistan. shortly afterwards, i talked with sennott from kabul. >> brown: charlie sennott, you spoke with general petraeus about the situation in egypt, tell us about that? >> the situation in egypt obviously has a much wider impact and general petraeus have been following the situation closely, particularly the ramifications it could have for the global struggle on terrorism and he told us that this set of street riots that have been going on in cairo have an impact much beyond egypt. >> i was exchanging emails with someone whose views i respect greatly and when it comes to the largest mid-east region he was i think this shows the importance once again that
leaders need to listen to their people and show that they are listening and are willing to respond. i think that is a universal lesson that has been reaffirmed in these particular circumstances. >> brown: in afghanistan, the big question of course is how much progress there has been especially along the pakistan border. >> that's right, that is one of the most critical issues of the offensive in afghanistan against thealiban. the border area is where they have added a lot of intelligence assets and they really have tried to get what they call an unblinking eye along that border and tried to work with pakistani officials to go after the safe havens inside pakistan. >> well, there is a good cooperative effort with pakistan in terms of coordinating activities on either side of the line, the border between the two countries. as pakistan continues its campaign against the pakistani taliban and the other element
allied within that pose such a serious threat to the very existence of pakistan and threatened up until about three years ago really and against which pakistan has had quite impressive operations starting in the swat valley and various agencies of the federal administered tribal areas that is going on now. i think it must be recognized the sacrifices that pakistan has made and the losses they have taken in their military their police and indeed among their civilian population. they need to consolidate some of those, they are the first to recognize that there is more work that needs to be done not only against the groups that threaten them but also against groups that threaten neighbors and indeed threaten the rest of the world.
well ever since they started the offensive in swat valley in the division that used to be known as the northwest frontier province which they then continues in the agencies of the fatah in khyber, south waziristan, and so forth and what they are continuing to do well then also recognizing as they do very clearly that there is more that needs to be done against the pakistani taliban as well as against some of the other elements that again threaten afghanistan and, indeed pose threats to western europe and our homeland.
>> suarez:. >> brown: the military is now preparing for a spring offensive right? >> that's right. it's the spring offensive and that will will get under way in the end of march. that campaign will move basically from the south to the north so you will see the fighting really begin to intensify and this will be a pivotal moment in what is now a ten-year war in afghanistan. >> we just got the inputs right in afghanistan this past fall. the establishment of all the different organizations that are needed to-- the conduct of the comprehensive civil and military campaign, to deploy the other additional contributing nation troops and afghan national forces, over 110,000 more than last year. >> so it's a consolidation of all those concerted efforts in one direction? >> that's correct. and even as we are getting the inputs right we use them to achieve outputs in the form of taking away important safe havens from the taliban in areas around kabul, kandahar and
central helmand province and so forth. we want to not only solidify those further in the two months or so before the fighting season begins but we want to expand those further in fact we are working right now in connecting the kandahar security bubble and helmand security bubble. >> bro: what about the issue about handing over responsibility, more responsibility to the afghans themselves? >> well, the transition to afghan forces is essential that's the way that the u.s. begins to draw down its own forces and we asked general petraeus about that? >> we think that we won't be able to commence transition here by indeed, i will make a recommendation to the nato command. make a recommendation to president karzai somewhere around the end of february. and so that recommendation will go forward and we believe that there are some very viable
candidates for transition that we will be able to identify. clearly a lot of this hinges on the ability of afghan to do more as we do progressively less. we are not just going to say, "tag, you're it, we are out of here." we are going thin out, not just hand off we will stay and support but progressively over time. obviously, we do want to reduce our numbers and locations based on conditions and then either reassess that transition that are or ultimately begin to send some of them home. we are very much on target with the growth of the afghan army and the afghan police but it is because the recruiting has been so high while the attrition is still above what we would like to see and what more importantly the ministries would like to see. >> brown: you also talked to him
about the continuing problem of corruption. the flow of money into afghanistan and what becomes of it? >> that's right. the issue of aid going into afghanistan is one that can have very serious ramifications for the campaign, i mean, it can really actually have perverse consequences and unintended consequences. for example, the military is giving out aid and that goes into a sort of criminal enterprise. they can actually undercut governance. on the other hand you have u.s.- aid projects that are going to afghan subcontractors who are sometimes end up paying a sort of protection racket to the taliban. so this kind of corruption is systemic, its something general petraeus was really self- effacing about and said it was something they need to work harder on. >> well, in fact, we are working very closely with our civilian partners the u.s. embassy, u.s.- a.i.d. and more broadly speaking the international community to address those issues. in fact, this is so serious that in this particular mission as i issue the traditional counter-
insurgency guidance-- obviously an adaptation from what i did in iraq because this is not iraq by a long stretch-- but i also issued counter-insurgency contracting guidance because if the counter insurgency guidance says that money is ammunition, and it does, contacting guidance should say if money is ammunition we need to put it in the right hands and make sure that it doesn't go into the wrong hands. these are criminals, they have political patronage and they are networks, they are elements they are not just individuals. and these have to be dealt with >> brown: and what if any final impressions of your time with general petraeus? >> well, it was an extraordinary opportunity to really go inside isaf headquarters. we were at the morning briefing where we really heard about a lot of different operations all of them were classified, but we got to see a sense of momentum i
think, general petraeus talked about having 110,000 additional troops. as he goes into this, 30,000 are the surge troops that president obama called for; 70,000 are the newly trained afghan forces and 10,000 come from the coalition. i think he feels confident that the last few months have really given them a sort of foothold where they feel as they go into the fighting season, they are ready and this is going to be a defining moment in this camping in afghanistan. >> brown: charlie sennott of "global post" in kabul, thanks a lot. >> thank you. >> suarez: again, the major developments of the day: supporters of egyptian president hosni mubarak battled protesters into the night in central cairo. and, the government ordered the protesters to vacate the area. the great winter storm of 2011 blasted into the northeast after paralyzing most of the midwest. and cyclone yasi struck
northeastern australia with winds of nearly 190 miles an hour. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: on the afghanistan story, we talked to a "global post" reporter embedded with the 101st airborne. and on egypt, there's a first hand account of yesterday's protests from a 17-year-old in alexandria. that's on "newshour extra," our student and teacher site. plus, judy woodruff previews her upcoming documentary about former first lady nancy reagan. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are nine more.
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